A Brief Look at the History of Floss

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Have you ever wondered what ancient cavemen used to clean their teeth after snacking on a juicy tortoise? It turns out that their idea of dental floss was a pointy stick. Compare that to the soft, waxed floss available today, and you might suddenly discover that flossing isn’t such a chore, after all. It’s thought that modern dental floss has its roots in 1815, when a dentist in New Orleans told his patients to work a silk thread between their teeth to remove food debris.

Silken floss became popular, but it wasn’t until 1882 that the first commercial floss was developed, also from silk. Silk, which is made by a species of caterpillar, remained in use until the 1940s, when it was replaced with nylon. Today, you can find floss made from all sorts of materials—including Gore-Tex—and all different styles.

At University Associates in Dentistry, our dentists pride themselves on healthcare excellence and a personalized approach . Call (312) 704-5511 to request a general dentistry appointment in Chicago, and visit us online to check out our denture services.

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